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Content Warning: Disordered Eating, Self-Harm

Michaela Chiste’s Artist Statement marries her 2021 poem “Gravity” with George Crumb’s “Let it be Forgotten” to paint a snapshot of her struggles with body dysmorphia and disordered eating.

“I am inspired by the world around me, for better or worse. I decided to create my artist statement about my lifelong battle with eating disorders.”

“It felt really good not to be a character. It’s an interesting dichotomy in your mind when you’re performing, but you’re telling your story…I’m used to putting on someone else’s skin and living life in their world when I’m performing.”

“I wanted to capture myself and the way I felt when I was the most sick, as well as now, how I’m feeling… I only hope that my experience that I’m sharing helps somebody out there, even just to feel a little bit less alone.”

Michaela Chiste is a soprano hailing from Okotoks, Alberta. Originally trained as a stage actor, she spent most of her life studying the dramatic arts before crossing over to the world of classical music in 2013. She completed her Bachelor of Music under the tutelage of John Tessier at the University of Alberta and is working towards her Master’s degree in Vocal Literature and Performance at the University of Western Ontario.

She has performed as a concert soloist and recitalist both internationally and across Canada. Michaela is passionate about contemporary music and has premiered several new art songs and operas, including Ronald Beckett’s 2019 cycle Songs of Fracture, for which she authored the poetry. Michaela recently received praise for her portrayal of Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème with Mercury Opera. Opera Canada described her performance as “a fine balance of fragility and hopefulness”. She was also described as “effective… a great actress” (I Don’t Get It), and that she “more than [held] her own among the seasoned cast” (Edmonton Journal). Other recent roles include Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Principal (.Gabriel), Frasquita (Carmen), and Gustave (Pomme d’Api). Michaela is an alumna of Arcady’s Emerging Artist Program and former roster singer for Cowtown Opera.

Thank you to Michaela for sharing her project and artistic voice. You can find more of Michaela on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as by visiting her website.

The Artist Statement Project was created as a part of AtG and University of Toronto’s National Opera Intensive program in August 2021. To explore more projects by participating artists, click here. To learn more about the National Opera Intensive, click here.